Confessions of a Houseplant Murderer

By Hannah K. 

I’m a plant murderer.

I’m so ashamed! It’s terrible, I know. I don’t want to kill my houseplants, but it keeps happening.

I long for a home filled with greenery and life. I want a lush indoor jungle. I want to care for living things and watch them grow and thrive.

(Not my plants)

Honestly, I have only myself to blame.

I may yearn for a jungle paradise, but my attention wanes. I think I’ve been keeping up with watering, but maybe I took a month or two off.  Or maybe I just watered all my plants yesterday, but I’m not sure, so why not water them a little more? I don’t know anything about potting soil or light levels, and don’t even get me started on feeding and fertilizing.  It’s all a mystery that I haven’t yet tried to solve.

Well, I guess I can blame my cat Ringo too. She loves to snuff out whatever plants I’ve accidentally kept alive. She loves to dig in the dirt, chew leaves, and knock over all flowerpots within her reach. If you have a similarly murderous creature, make sure you only bring pet safe plants into the house and keep plants out of the reach of curious paws. While I can’t keep houseplants alive, at least I’ve kept my cat healthy enough to continue her destructive habits.



Despite my ignorance, I keep trying. I’ve bought a lot of plants over the years. I keep trying to cultivate that jungle, despite all evidence that I’m an unfit plant parent.

(Also not my plant, but an accurate depiction)

Sansevieria (the snake plant) is a type that numerous nurseries have sold me. I was reassured that not even my bumbling ways could kill them. They ‘thrive on neglect’. Obviously the plant for me! Nope! I’ve killed those too! ZZ plants, cacti, air plants, pilea, rubber plants, bromeliads, spider plants, peace lilies, jade plants, ferns- you name it, I’ve killed it.

I can’t help myself! Those beautiful, lush leaves hypnotize me. Every time I see a plant for sale, I think that I’m finally going to figure this whole gardening thing out. I fall in love and take it home.  And yet, I still fall into my old habits. I don’t know what the plants actually need, so I guess. And I’m a terrible guesser.

Should I stop buying plants? Probably! Will I stop buying plants? Probably not!

Moral of the story: I need help.

In light of my terrible history, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. (Ha). Sno-Isle has a wealth of books in the collection to teach basic plant care.  Step by step instructions on how to give your plants the very best conditions, and how to identify problems before it’s too late. There are even inspiring guides on how to decorate with houseplants without neglecting their needs. I have all of the information I need to educate myself and turn my track record around. And I found new shelves that Ringo can’t reach.

I’m not going to buy another plant until I do my research. No more plant murder! If you share my unfortunate ignorance about plant care, I hope these books can help you too.

I’m determined to use these books to be a better plant parent! But if all else fails… I’ll fake it.

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6 responses to “Confessions of a Houseplant Murderer”

  1. Lindsey says:

    I’m a plant murderer, too! It seems I’m always over or underwatering. I refuse to stop buying plants, though. I’ve had the most luck with a small palm plant, which isn’t dead yet. I’ve probably already checked it out but I definitely need to give How Not to Kill your Houseplant another read!

  2. Marina says:

    I was recently looking at that Handmade Houseplants book because my compulsion is to buy pretty paper. And too much of it when it’s on sale. Without any projects in mind (or not completing the projects I do have in mind). And before it takes over my craft stash I thought I should do something to get it under control. So, if you get to that point of plant parenting just know that I have paper I’m willing to share.

    • Hannah K says:

      I love live plants, but paper flowers can be even more beautiful. Even if I manage to keep some houseplants alive, I will probably take you up on that!

  3. Isaac H. says:

    I, too, share your pain in bad luck with plants Hannah. While I mostly choose pet safe, minimal care indoor plants, the little lions seem to love chewing on or pulling them apart. I’ve tried my luck with outdoor plants only to have them destroyed by the local gang of squirrels. Peanuts in appeasement, squirrel repellent, then fake owls, nothing avails them. Worst, the fake owl and repellent must have made them angry, since they stopped simply digging holes in my planters and began shredding the plants and upturning planters that are roughly as big as they are. Oh well.

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